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ATD Blog

TD Pros Play a Major Role in Change Management Initiatives

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

New ATD research explores organizational change and the funding levels, staffing, and training that are dedicated for change initiatives.

Change is becoming a constant in organizations, and according to data from a new ATD report, a typical organization experienced four to six change initiatives last year and more than two-thirds of organizations (65 percent) expect the number of change initiatives to increase in the next five years.

The report, Change Management: Talent Development’s Critical Role, sponsored by Ashland University, examines data on the current and expected future state of change and the best practices associated with better market performance. Among the 149 survey respondents, 23 percent were considered high performers. High-performing organizations offer employees training in change management capabilities, techniques, and strategies. Extending this training beyond leaders and managers is also associated with high-performing organizations.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic was a major driver of change in organizations, organizational growth was the biggest reason for change. Technology changes and operational process changes also made the list.

The report also specifies that an organization’s ability to handle change depends on funding: “A quarter of organizations described their funding for change initiatives as adequate, and another third described it as generally adequate, but occasionally constraining effectiveness … The remainder described funding as inadequate. Providing adequate funding for change initiatives was associated with heightened performance, and having inadequate funding was associated with lower performance.”

Change Management Capabilities

The report identifies change management initiatives that talent development or change management staff need to master and the structure of the change management team.


One-third of organizations report having a change management team, but only 17 percent of those organizations said that their change management team is housed in the talent development department. When exploring change management capabilities, 60 percent of organizations said their talent development or change management professionals have advanced skills in knowing how change impacts people and organizations.

Less than half of organizations said their professionals were advanced in assessing risk, resistance, and consequences to define a change management approach (40 percent); in designing and implementing an organizational change strategy (37 percent); and in possessing knowledge of change management theories and models (35 percent).

Change Management Training

Half of the organizations surveyed offer training in change management capabilities, techniques, and strategies. More than 60 percent offered training to department or line managers (67 percent) or to senior leaders (64 percent).


“While only 37 percent extended their training to individual contributors, those organizations were more likely to be high performers,” according to the report.

The top five frequently covered topics in change management training include:

  • Communicating about change and how it affects them to direct reports (73 percent)
  • Defining and developing plans for change (69 percent)
  • Analyzing the potential impact of change (69 percent)
  • Communicating about change with supervisors and leaders (63 percent)
  • Maintaining team morale and culture during change (59 percent)

The research shows that most organizations can do a better job of managing change.

“Talent development professionals can play a critical role in managing change by working alongside and advising senior leaders during every stage of change and delivering training in change management capabilities, techniques, and strategies,” according to the report.

A free webinar on the report will take place on July 20 at 2 p.m. ET. For more information on the data, check out the whitepaper or report.

About the Author

Paula Ketter is ATD's content strategist. Previously, she served as editor of ATD's periodicals.

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